High School Sports

New team emerges atop Sun Herald Top 10

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD 
 Ocean Springs third baseman Drew Windham knocked in four runs to lead the Greyhounds to a victory over Oak Grove, Saturday, March 26, 2016.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD Ocean Springs third baseman Drew Windham knocked in four runs to lead the Greyhounds to a victory over Oak Grove, Saturday, March 26, 2016.

There's a new No. 1 baseball team on the Coast for the first time this season.

After a productive week that saw Ocean Springs (10-4) go 3-1 with convincing wins over Hancock, Gulfport and Oak Grove in convincing fashion -- following a loss to Biloxi -- the Greyhounds have moved up one spot to No. 1.

George County (7-4), which went 1-1 last week with a 2-0 loss to Gulfport and a 2-1 win over Harrison Central, slipped two spots to No. 3. The Admirals (10-4) jumped up two spots to No. 2.

"We just didn't show up and compete (against Biloxi). We got beat in every phase of the game," OSHS coach Brian Rea said. "We did a little more soul searching after that game and got back to the basics all the way around."

The Greyhounds were full of soul the rest of the week, out-scoring the Hawks, Admirals and Warriors by a combined score of 21-2.

Rounding out the baseball rankings: No. 4 D'Iberville (8-4) climbed a spot, as did No. 5 West Harrison; No. 6 Harrison Central (8-5) slipped from third; St. Patrick (7-1) and Hancock (6-5) come in at No. 7 and 8 respectively; Pearl River Central (10-4) and Long Beach (6-5) join the realm of the ranked at No. 9 and 10.

Softball

St. Patrick's softball team (9-0) continues to truck along as the Sun Herald's top team. Last week, they out-scored Perry Central and West Marion 36-4. Harrison Central (7-3) stayed at No. 2. No. 3 Poplarville (8-0), No. 4 West Harrison (7-5) and No. 5 Hancock (7-6) all shuffled around. No. 6 St. Martin (5-2) and No. 7 East Central (8-2-1) stayed the same. No. 8 Pearl River Central (8-2-1) and No. 9 Biloxi (6-3-1) flipped spots this week, while No. 10 Picayune (6-5) stayed the same.

As one of only two Coast teams that are still undefeated, coach Jonathan Ray has seen his Poplarville Lady Hornets do a little of everything during their 8-0 start.

The Lady Hornets have accumulated 13 extra-base hits and have also swiped 30 bases as a team -- in addition to a 1.00 staff ERA.

"We're a multi-faceted offense where we can get it done several ways," Ray said. "We have a group of players who really buy into the system."

PHS has five regulars hitting .400 or better, led by a freshman Rakeya Travis. She played second base as an eighth grader and has transitioned nicely to shortstop, Ray said.

Travis leads the team with a whopping .522 batting average. She also has a team best 13 RBIs to go along with two doubles, two triples, three RBIs and 11 runs scored.

"She has power, speed, arm strength and quickness," Ray said. "She's pretty much the total package."

Big week

This week should go a long way toward making sense of the Class 7-6A and Class 8-6A baseball regions. George County and Ocean Springs square off Tuesday and Friday, as do Gulfport-Biloxi, D'Iberville-St. Martin and Harrison Central-Hancock.

In 8-6A, all four teams -- HCHS, HHS, GHS and BHS -- are 2-2 after having played 7-6A. In 7-6A, the Warriors are out ahead of everyone with a 4-0 region record, while Ocean Springs and George County are both 2-2. St. Martin, despite an 0-4 record, has solid pitching and could jump up to snipe any of the teams ahead of the Yellow Jackets.

Arguably the highest-profile matchup this week pits the former No. 1 Rebels against the new No. 1 Greyhounds.

"You hope our team is mature enough to realize what's out in front of us," said Rea. "We're 2-2 with six to play and now you're competing against your side of the region.

"This is a big week. George County and us could put some room between each other or both play nice and split and still have to battle."

Added GCHS coach Brandon Davis: "Ocean Springs is always going to be a traditional, good ole match-up. We don't expect anything other than them giving us a close game."

George County, Gulfport, St. Martin and Hancock all host Tuesday's region games, with the return games on Friday.

The lone exception is Hancock-Harrison Central, which will play at 7 p.m. Thursday at MGM Park.

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